The Toughest Leg Workout Without Weights

Kirsten Curtis |

This bodyweight workout gives a whole new meaning to leg day

I used to think that no leg day was complete without using heavy weights or machines. That is until I tried this Kamikaze mission of a workout.

For one, every move is done one leg at a time to put more direct loading onto your leg and hip muscles without needing access to anything besides your own bodyweight in the beginning (and a pair of lighter dumbbells if you’re really fit). In addition, by doing 4 straight single-sided moves in a row (strategically sequenced, I might add), your poor muscles are going to feel loaded to the max.

Because this routine is so challenging, I’ve created a beginner and advanced version. The beginner version has you perform all 4 moves back to back, but you alternate between sides each set to mitigate the fatigue. The advanced version has you do all 4 moves on one side first before switching, and will change your life.


Directions: Alternate between 50 seconds of work 10 seconds of rest for each move in the following circuit.

1a. Single-leg shoulders-elevated hip thrust, left then right leg

1b. Single-leg feet-elevated hip thrust, left then right leg

1c. Bulgarian hip hinge, left then right leg

1d. Bulgarian split squat, left then right leg

That’s 1 round. Do 2 to 3 rounds, resting 1 to 2 minutes between rounds.


Left Leg Circuit

Directions: Perform each move for a minute with little to no rest between moves.

1a. Single-leg shoulders-elevated hip thrust

1b.Single-leg feet-elevated hip thrust

1c. Bulgarian hip hinge

1d. Bulgarian split squat

Rest 1 to 2 minutes and move to the other side.

Right Leg Circuit

Directions: Perform each move for a minute with little to no rest between moves:

2a. Single-leg shoulders-elevated hip thrust

2b. Single-leg feet-elevated hip thrust

2c. Bulgarian hip hinge

2d. Bulgarian split squat

That’s 1 round. Rest 1 to 2 minutes and return to the starting side. Do 2 to 3 rounds/side.

Progress Tracking:

Look to first increase reps before adding load due to the sheer amount of systemic fatigue from this collective grouping of movements. You could also wear a weight vest to increase the challenge, which may be more practical due to limited transition time between moves.

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